Ruth...A Lesson in Motivated Faith
Ruth: A Lesson in Motivated Faith
i. Welcome Visitors
ii. Introduce Dad
I. The Story in Short
a) CALAMITY: Ruth 1:1-5, Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion-Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.
b) NAOMI’S CONCERN: Ruth 1:12-14, "Turn back, my daughters, go-for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, if I should have a husband tonight and should also bear sons, would you wait for them till they were grown? Would you restrain yourselves from having husbands? No, my daughters; for it grieves me very much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me! Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
c) BOAZ TAKES AN INTEREST: Ruth 2:5-8, Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, "Whose young woman is this?" So the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered and said, "It is the young Moabite woman who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. And she said, 'Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' So she came and has continued from morning until now, though she rested a little in the house. Then Boaz said to Ruth, "You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women.”
d) LOVE BLOSSOMS: Ruth 3:1-13, Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, my daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you? Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor. Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do. And she said to her, All that you say to me I will do. So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, "Who are you?" So she answered, "I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative." Then he said, "Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. "And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. "Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I. "Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you-good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the LORD lives! Lie down until morning."
e) THE NEGOATION: Ruth 4:1-8, Now Boaz went up to the gate and sat down there; and behold, the close relative of whom Boaz had spoken came by. So Boaz said, "Come aside, friend, sit down here." So he came aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit down here." So they sat down. Then he said to the close relative, "Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech.”And I thought to inform you, saying, 'Buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know; for there is no one but you to redeem it, and I am next after you.'" And he said, "I will redeem it." Then Boaz said, "On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance." And the close relative said, "I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it." Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm anything: one man took off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was a confirmation in Israel. Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, "Buy it for yourself." So he took off his sandal.
f) HAPPILY EVER AFTER: Ruth 4:13-17, So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, "Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel! And may he be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him. Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, "There is a son born to Naomi." And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Application: Types of Faith
4 Main Characters:
ORPAH: Orpah, meanings attributed to Orpah are “stiff-necked” and “cloud”. Notice v.14, She loves her mother-in-law as evident by the kiss. Her faith stops short of following Naomi to Israel. (ch1v.15)She goes back to her people, and her false gods. The application we see here is that she returns to what is comfortable, to what she knows as the ‘norm’. This kind of faith does not require her to ‘risk’ her comfort. Orpah returned to her people, (the people of Moab) and her gods, this represents physical and spiritual famine. Too often we find ourselves doing the same thing. A break-through may be just over the horizon, but instead of ‘going for it’, we return to what is comfortable - even if that means staying in a famine. We find ourselves in many kinds of famine. Physical, spiritual, moral, emotional, socially; you name it. If you want to get out of the famine you are in, then you must have the faith and courage to reject the comfort of the famine you are in and move towards God.
II Corinthians 4:4, The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel.
We cannot allow ourselves to be blind to the truth of God’s provision. His love for us is real and that love real. Reject a passive attitude and have the faith to believe on God for your break-through.
NAOMI: Naomi’s name means ‘my pleasant one.’ We find herself contrasting her name by calling herself by a new name, ‘Mara’, which means ‘bitter’(ch 1 v.19-20). Later in the story we find the women of the village blessing the LORD for the redemption Naomi has received. Naomi happily takes her grandson into her arms and becomes a nurse to him. The application we see here is that Naomi lets her present situation dictate her faith. When Ruth has an encounter with Boaz and is received with favor, Naomi’s attitude improves. (ch3v.1-4)As the story unfolds we find her faith affected by the situation. When thing are tough, her faith is low. When her situation improves, her faith improves. How often have we been in the same frame of mind? This attitude of faith is best portrayed when Peter walked on the water.
Matthew 14:24-31, But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
It is when we let our hearts and minds be drawn away by fear that our faith begins to fail.
RUTH: Ruth, which means friend, is the heroin of the story. Ruth finds herself in a rather desperate situation. After the death of her husband, she declares loyalty to her mother-in-law. This brings her into a strange land with strange customs. She is subject to all the prejudices of being a stranger in a strange land. Ruth decides to gather grain left behind by the reapers hoping to find favor with some of the locals. It is important to understand that Ruth was taking some risk by gathering among the locals. The locals would mistreat and even beat her if they thought she was infringing on them. Her faith represents a hopeful faith motivated by need. Ruth’s faith in born out of a hard times and hope for the future. Things could not get much worse. Her husband is dead. Orpah, the only person she can relate to, has not come on this journey with her. She and her mother-in-law have no one to provide for them. But God does not abandon them. He provides for them a kinsman-redeemer.
Philippians 1:19-20, For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
Our faith must have the element of hopeful expectation. This is a common and repeated theme throughout the Bible. Peter did walk on water with Jesus. He did so because he had the earnest expectation of faith. Jesus called Peter, and Peter walked on water.
BOAZ: Boaz is the hero of the story. His name means ‘swiftness’. He is held in high respect by all around him. His greeting to his workers, ‘The LORD be with you’ and their response shows a good relationship between them. He inquires about Ruth (a stranger in his field) and gives her protection. His interaction with the men of the gate indicates his respect for others and the law. He is a man of action and faith. This faith and action combination directs Boaz in all he does in the story. He is decisive and swift to act; he is tactful and respectful in all of his ways. Boaz is a man’s man and any woman’s dream. And he is an Old Testament representation of Jesus Christ. His faith comes from maturity and experiencing God’s faithfulness. We read that there was a famine in the land yet Boaz and his people had enough grain to spare. As our faith matures, we too will have a faith like that of Boaz.
2Timothy 1:7-14, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Hebrews 10:22-25, Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Hebrews 4:14-16, Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.